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Week 11 Official FPL Player Picks: Cherry Bomb

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Who looks good — and perhaps even more importantly, which players appear unattractive — as we set our teams for Week 11 of Fantasy Premier League action?

Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser - AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
Bournemouth offensive stars Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser are set to face a daunting schedule.
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Many of us have sprinkled (or loaded) our FPL teams with Bournemouth players during the first 10 games. And those who did certainly have reaped rewards. Eddie Howe’s Cherries are currently sitting mighty pretty in 6th place, tying for the 6th-most goals scored, and even more surprisingly conceding the 6th-fewest goals.

This purple patch of form has brought wondrous fantasy returns for those who featured forwards Callum Wilson (63 points) and Joshua King (44), midfielders Ryan Fraser (62) and David Brooks (36), defenders Steve Cook (42), Nathan Ake (41) and Adam Smith (36), and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic (36), all of whom are affordable (currently priced between £4.5 and £6.6), thus delivering outstanding bang for the buck. Accordingly, those Cherries have surely helped your team become more valuable.

Of course, one big reason for that success surely was a favorable schedule for Weeks 1-10: v. Cardiff City, at West Ham, v. Everton, at Chelsea, v. Leicester, at Burnley, v. Crystal Palace, at Watford, v. Southampton, and at Fulham. That’s just one “Big Six” team (Chelsea), and otherwise only two fellow teams in the top half of the table (Everton and Watford).

Now it’s time to pay the piper, as the competition gets tougher. Actually, you could call the upcoming schedule inhumanly barbarous, and I would not accuse you of hyperbole: v. Manchester United, at Newcastle, v. Arsenal, at Manchester City, v. Huddersfield, v. Liverpool. at Wolverhampton, v. Brighton, at Tottenham, at Manchester United, v. Watford, at Everton, v. West Ham, v. Chelsea, at Cardiff, at Liverpool, v. Wolves, at Arsenal, and v. Manchester City.

Holy avocado dip, Batman! It’s not that every single game in the above stretch is tough, but whenever we see what appears to be a favorable match-up, the next game (or two) brings a land mine. The schedule doesn’t offer the start of an extended easy patch until March 9 (Week 30), which means that Weeks 11-29 are very likely not going to be nearly as fun as the first 10. This 19-fixture stretch brings nine contests against Big Six teams (including Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City twice each), plus another four games against teams in the top half (Wolves twice; Everton and Watford once each).

No, I’m not saying that you need to sell all of your Bournemouth players, but if you have stacked your team with the maximum three Cherries, you will definitely want to consider offloading one or two of them at least. Otherwise, you may be left with a ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb blowing up your team.

It always hurts letting go of a productive, affordable asset (two or three assets, even more), but there are plenty of other teams’ players you can turn to who may very well prove more valuable during this long, rough stretch of fixtures for the Cherries. With that in mind, I shall be sure to mention some attractive alternative options in the Week 11 Player Picks below. In doing so, I am mixing a Week 11 focus with a longer-term approach, particularly in midfield and forward where Bournemouth investment is heaviest.

As a side note, the “whoever is playing Fulham” strategy is usually golden, but this week that team is Huddersfield Town, so I’m going to give it a rest. Rajiv van la Parra, Aaron Mooy, Alex Pritchard, Philip Billing, Ramadan Sobhi, Steve Mounie, and Laurent Depoitre have combined for one goal this season. Three defenders — Zanka, Christopher Schindler, and Jon Gorenc Stankovic — have scored once each, accounting for the team’s paltry total of four scores. It may well turn out that we get goals galore from the Terriers, but even if that is the case, I have no idea where they’re going to come from, and I’m certainly not burning any precious transfers in my team for such wild speculation. Such one-week plays are better suited to the Fantrax format anyway.

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GOALKEEPERS

Ederson (£5.7, Manchester City v. Southampton)

The top goalkeeper in the game (57 points, 10 more than Liverpool’s Alisson) gets a home date with the goal-shy Saints. Can Ederson nab a remarkable 7th straight clean sheet, along with an 8th shutout in 11 games? I think so!

Kepa Arrizabalaga (£5.5, Chelsea v. Crystal Palace)

Crystal Palace has scored the 4th-fewest goals in the Premiership, while Chelsea has conceded the 3rd-fewest. On top of that, the game is at Stamford Bridge.

Jordan Pickford (£4.9, Everton v. Brighton)

Amazingly, despite having a mediocre defense in front of him, the summer’s Three Lions’ star is the 3rd-best keeper in FPL with 46 points, behind only Ederson and Alisson. Of course, a good chunk of his score comes from saving a penalty each of the past two weeks. You shouldn't expect another PK save for a third straight time, but with this game coming at Goodison Park against a sub-par Brighton offense, Pickford still offers a good chance of a strong return even without spot kick heroics.

Ben Foster (£4.5, Watford at Newcastle)

The very Jekyll and Hyde Hornets have turned things back around recently, with Foster a prime beneficiary thanks to two straight clean sheets. Newcastle’s unwatchable offense ties for the 2nd-fewest goals in the league, and even with this game at St. James’ Park, the match-up does not seem especially daunting for visiting Watford.

Lucasz Fabianski (£4.5, West Ham v. Burnley)

West Ham has found clean sheets tough to come by, with just one this season. However, the Hammers have consistently come close recently, allowing only six goals total in their past seven league games... yep, that means one goal six times in that seven game stretch! With Burnley’s uninspiring offense visiting London, I’m hopeful that Fab’s luck can turn good and earn the vital clean sheet bonus.

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DEFENDERS

Marcos Alonso (£7.0, Chelsea v. Crystal Palace)

Eden Hazard comes easily to mind as the highest scorer in the fantasy game with 75 points. Do you know who is #2? Well, you probably guessed it given the section it’s in, but you may not have otherwise, likely expecting another midfielder or perhaps a forward. Yes indeed, Hazard’s “defensive” teammate Alonso is nipping the heels of the superstar Belgian midfielder with 72 points owing to one goal, six assists, five clean sheets and 11 bonus points. At home against the frequently flightless Eagles, the rampaging left wing back should be able to keep the joy going.

Benjamin Mendy (£6.3, Manchester City v. Southampton)

Mendy enjoyed a blockbuster start to the season with 32 points in the first four games. Since returning from injury, he’s gotten back to business with 21 points in the past three contests. You’ll expect a clean sheet and hope for some offensive returns on top of that raiding the left flank at the Etihad against Southampton.

Kieran Trippier (£6.3, Tottenham at Wolverhampton)

I’m usually not a big fan of away investment on defense, especially when traveling to a team in the top half of the table. But I’ll make an exception here with Trippier averaging 6.6 ppg on the road this season (compared to 5.3 ppg at home) combined with the lackluster nature of Wolves’ offense which has scored only nine times all season and is goalless in the past two. Whether at Wembley or Molineux, Tripps can deliver.

Michael Keane (£4.9, Everton v. Brighton)

In seasons past, Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines were the automatic picks in the Toffees’ defense. But Coleman has not provided his usual attacking returns even when healthy this season, and Baines lost his starting job to Lucas Digne, who likewise has not brought much up the flank. Meanwhile, it’s central defender Michael Keane who has thrived on the offensive end with a goal and two assists.

Fabian Balbuena (£4.4, West Ham v. Burnley)

Balbuena and Pablo Zabaleta (£4.3) are both strong budget calls for the Hammers’ defense, but I prefer the former since he actually ranks third on the team in shots (11), behind only Marko Arnautovic (26) and Michail Antonio (15). Balbuena brings a good chance at a clean sheet, and you may also get lucky with a goal; he has already scored once, while unluckily hitting the woodwork one time as well.

Kiko Femenia (£4.2, Watford at Newcastle)

Community member Ken alerted us to Kiko Femenia as an attractive budget Fantrax choice recently, and the Watford defender looks like an appetizing option in Official FPL as well. Having started the past three games, Femenia has brought two clean sheets with an assist, earning 18 points in that time. Watford’s next two games are away, but it’s no rough road with Newcastle and Southampton waiting. Similarly-priced teammate Adam Masina (£4.3) has started the past two games and also warrants consideration.

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MIDFIELDERS

Eden Hazard (£11.3, Chelsea v. Crystal Palace)

With a home fixture against mediocre Palace, Hazard headlines the premium midfielder picks, but of course you will want to check injury news as the deadline approaches after he missed out on the fun last weekend.

Raheem Sterling (£11.1, Manchester City v. Southampton)

Sterling has played eight games this season, notching a goal and/or assist in six of them. If he starts at home against the Saints, he probably makes that seven of nine.

Anthony Martial (£7.4, Manchester United at Bournemouth)

I don’t understand the Manchester United offense, and I certainly don’t enjoy watching it, but somehow the attack is actually kinda sorta chugging along right now while the defense has struggled, in a reversal of usual form under Jose Mourinho. Nobody on the Red Devils is hotter than Anthony Martial right now, with four goals, one assist and 37 fantasy points in the past three games. This after scoring only four fantasy points in the first seven games! Is it real, or is it Memorex? I don’t know, but if it turns out that Martial can maintain form, you won’t want to miss out. An imposing trip to the Etihad comes in Week 12, but the surrounding three games (at Bournemouth, v. Crystal Palace, at Southampton) are more welcoming.

Anthony Martial - Manchester United United - Premier League
Right now, Anthony Martial is the man at Manchester United.
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.4, Everton v. Brighton)

Baines’ absence has put Siggy in the driver’s seat with respect to PK duty, helping the Nordic star score five goals (and 44 points) in his past six games. But he’s not all about the spot, as four of those goals have come from elsewhere. (Siggy did miss one of his two penalty attempts this season, but that was an outlier, as he is 7-for-8 in his EPL career.) While the Toffees do face two tough away games in their next five fixtures (at Chelsea and Liverpool), the three home affairs are tantalizing (v. Brighton, Cardiff and Newcastle).

Roberto Pereyra (£6.4, Watford at Newcastle)

Pereyra has mirrored Watford’s up-and-down-and-up-again season, scoring thrice in the first trio of games, then disappearing for the next five tilts, and then scoring twice in the past two. He may just be able to keep the momentum going at Newcastle and at Southampton, before the schedule gets tougher and things go down again.

Ross Barkley (£5.8, Chelsea v. Crystal Palace)

With limited playing time in the first seven games, Barkley was truly a forgotten man, failing to register a goal or assist. But he has made the most of two starts and a substitute appearance in the past three games, delivering three goals and assists each. Given Barkley’s purple patch of form, Mauricio Sarri has to keep him in the XI, doesn’t he?

I certainly hope so, and if so, the former Everton star offers an amazing bargain as part of the Blues’ high-powered offense. Along the same lines as Everton, in the next five games, Chelsea’s two away fixtures are not easy (at Tottenham and Wolves), but the three home tilts are quite appetizing (v. Palace, Everton and Fulham).

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FORWARDS

Sergio Aguero (£11.3, Manchester City v. Southamton)

The City sniper has what even an X-Games star would call extreme home/away splits: 5 goals, 4 assists and 9.4 ppg at home, versus 1 goal, no assists and 2.6 ppg away. Hmm, where is this game? At the Etihad. You say you want to captain Kun? Go right ahead!

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.9, Arsenal v. Liverpool)

I normally would not recommend anybody against a Liverpool side that has allowed only four goals in 10 games. However, this tilt comes at the Emirates, and the Gunners’ offense is firing on all cylinders. Perhaps even more importantly, PEA is the hottest player in the league, having exploded for five goals and one assist in the past three games. Sometimes you just can’t argue with form, no matter the level of competition.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang clears the ball with a bicycle kick - Arsenal FC - Premier League
PEA is firing on all cylinders for the explosive Arsenal offense.
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Jamie Vardy (£9.0, Leicester at Cardiff)

The British blur has not delivered in the past three games, as the Foxes’ offense has ground to a halt with only three goals total in that stretch. But Vardy and company should be ready to roll with a favorable upcoming schedule over the next five: at Cardiff, v. Burnley, at Brighton, v. Watford, at Fulham.

Marko Arnautovic (£7.0, West Ham v. Burnley)

I’ll be honest; I’m worried about Marko Arnautovic. He has never appeared close to 100% healthy at any time this season, and it seems like he needs at least a week or two off to get fit. But he missed last weekend with illness, which may have helped give him the rest he so desperately needs. The Hammers’ upcoming fixture list is very tempting as well, with only one truly daunting task in the next 11 games: v. Burnley, at Huddersfield, v. Manchester City, at Newcastle, v. Cardiff, v. Crystal Palace, at Fulham, v. Watford, at Southampton, at Burnley, v. Brighton.

Glenn Murray (£6.5, Brighton at Everton)

Admittedly, I’ve recommended Everton’s Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane. But it’s not like they’re my #1 choices at their positions, or honestly anywhere close, so cut me a little slack for throwing Brighton’s Murray in the forward list. If you’re looking to get off the Bournemouth bandwagon and ditch Wilson or King, but you can’t afford Arnie, then Murray could prove a savvy move. And even if the Seagulls’ goal scoring star doesn’t manage to crack the net at Goodison, the quintet of affairs afterward is quite welcoming: at Cardiff, v. Leicester, at Huddersfield, v. Crystal Palace, at Burnley.

Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.9, Leicester at Cardiff)

The Foxes’ budget alternative to Vardy has one goal and four assists on the season. As mentioned above in the Vardy section, an attractive upcoming schedule beckons. If your budget 3rd attacker spot is making you queasy with poor performance of late — such as Southampton’s Danny Ings, Watford’s Andre Gray, Fulham’s Luciano Vietto, or Wolves’ Raul Jimenez — and you don’t have the money to get Murray but want to shake things up, Iheanacho could be an interesting punt.

Isaac Success (£4.5, Watford at Newcastle)

Then again, if your 3rd striker is doing naught and you’re looking to free up some funds for an upgrade elsewhere in your line-up, why not downgrade to the bargain basement level at forward? Success has started the past two games, living up to his lofty last name with a goal against Huddersfield last weekend in the 3-0 win. Whether or not he keeps his spot in the XI is an open question, so that is certainly worth monitoring, but he could pan out, and even if he doesn’t, there’s nothing wrong with stashing him in the last spot on your bench. (Although if freeing up every possible penny is your goal, consider Fulham’s Aboubakar Kamara — who at least for now looks to have taken the Cottagers’ 2nd striker spot from Vietto alongside Aleksandar Mitrovic — instead at £4.3.)

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Which players are you thinking about adding and dropping for Week 11? Whom do you plan on captaining? And what is your strategy regarding Bournemouth players? Take the poll and then let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Poll

How many Bournemouth players will you have in your FPL team for GW11?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    None
    (44 votes)
  • 46%
    One
    (81 votes)
  • 23%
    Two
    (41 votes)
  • 4%
    Three
    (8 votes)
174 votes total Vote Now

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